Tuesday, June 28, 2016

North Dakota Pheasant Hunting Outlook 2016

Pheasant numbers in ND are looking very strong.  We had another mild winter followed by warm dry temperatures during nesting season.  This has allowed more hens to hatch out chicks earlier and more successful.  There are baby pheasants that are already full size along with some that were just hatched recently. 

The 2016 hunting season outlook is looking to be higher numbers then last year, at least in our area.  This should give hunters plenty of opportunity when them come out to hunt at Rolling Plains Adventures this fall!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Coyote Hunting



This winter in North Dakota has been a fun time to be out in the field hunting coyotes.  From December through January, I believe the total # of coyotes harvested off the ranch has been over 80.  The photo above shows a 5 day span where we shot 17 coyotes. 
It always helps to have snow on the ground to eliminate some of their food sources as well as aid in tracking them.  Coyotes are very territorial, but when you get rid of the alpha male in one area there will be a new one taking over very soon.  They are constantly on the move to find food or new territories. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Another Mild Winter Thus Far

North Dakota has presented another mild winter for us.  We received about a foot of snow throughout December, but have had plenty of warm days to already melt it away.  The wildlife are in very good condition this year and the forecast is showing above average temps for the next couple of months.  This is great news for the pheasant numbers and even the deer as well. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

North Dakota Ground Squirrels!

North Dakota Ground Squirrels!

Posted by on May 31, 2013
I had the chance to do a varmint hunt in North Dakota the weekend before Memorial Day. The seven hour drive from Minneapolis took me through miles of farms and grasslands. North Dakota is one of the least populated regions of the continental USA and I’d been forewarned to stock up on supplies in Jamestown, 60 miles east of the ranch, as it was the last grocery stop on the way. I turned off the interstate and drove 10 miles down a paved country road, before turning off on a dirt ranch road for another few miles to the ranch.
The Rolling Plains Adventures lodge is based on a ranch property that has two smaller and well-appointed cabins, with a large lodge containing a bar and all the amenities, a wall sized flat screen TV and game room, along with rooms and bunks for another twenty guest. Corrals, outbuildings, and fenced pastures covering a couple hundred acres surrounded by grasslands as far as the eye could see sat across the gravel road
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This is a working cattle ranch, and there was a lot of great pest shooting to be had.
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These ground squirrels look like mini prairie dogs
I brought the Fx Verminator in .25 caliber, and as I’ve written before in this blog it is a tack driver and one of my top picks for any small to medium game; it is powerful on the high power setting, it is accurate, and the 500cc air bottle provides a high shot capacity. In most hunting situations I’ll opt for accuracy first, power, compactness and handling characteristics third, and shot count barely registers on my radar screen. But when shooting target rich pest environments for prairie dogs or ground squirrels where you are probably going to have a couple hundred shot opportunities per day, the higher shot count moves up my requirements list. I also love the trigger on this rifle, believing it to be one of the best to be found on an out of the box hunting gun. And the 12 shot Royale style breech and magazine are perfect for this fast action style of hunting.
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This gun cycles quickly and is dead accurate. The four squirrels dropped 1,2,3,4 in a couple minutes.
Prairie dogs are in the squirrel family, but are much larger, have short tails, and spend all of their lives on the ground, grazing the short prairie grasses and sitting on their burrows. The California ground squirrels I grew up shooting on the West Coast looked more like conventional tree squirrels, being about the same size and body shape with a long bushy tail and a gray color. Like the prairie dog they live in burrows, but they also like rock piles, blown down wood piles, and they will climb the lower branches of trees or fence post to keep a look out. The Richardson’s ground squirrels I was shooting on this trip were much more aligned to my picture of a ground squirrel, both in appearance and behavior. They had the small egg shaped bodies, short tails, and don’t leave the ground, but they are less than half the size. One area they diverge from prairie dogs is that the little ground squirrels feed voraciously on crops when available, and do considerable financial damage in the three or so months of the year when not hibernating.
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I shot about 50 in my first session, but they kept flowing in from the field across the road.
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This was a 100 yard shot that rolled this guy to a dead stop.
The harvested fields and the fenced in pastures were covered in the burrows of these little rodents, and they were running all over the place. I parked the SUV and hopped out with the rifle and my shooting sticks, a tin of JSB Exacts tucked into my pocket. Sitting in the dirt road with my back leaning against the rear tire and the rifle on the sticks, I was locked in solid. The wind was blowing about 5 mph, as I dropped the crosshairs a mil dot down on the head of my first squirrel. I squeezed the trigger and watched the pellet fly by a half inch to the left of his head. I cocked the rifle without coming off the sticks and watched the second pellet I sent down range smack him hard. The rodent rolled a couple times before landing legs up, and he didn’t so much as twitch. Throughout the morning I shot about 50 of the critters at ranges of 50 to 125 yards, and the guns accuracy and shootability were really outstanding. At one point I knocked one down at 125 yards, swung to another at 75 yards dropping him, then dusted two more 50 yards out and 50 to the right of number two….. all in about two minutes! The Verminator is a fast cycling gun, and the Royal Breech and side lever action are really smooth.
I walked through a small grove of trees planted in rows between the road and a field of grain stubble, and sat down to glass the area. I pulled the Hawke ED binoculars out of my day pack and started to glass the field, and found a number of beady little eyes looking back at me from behind the dirt clods and clumps of knocked down grain. As I looked closer I say that there were some of the little stripped ground squirrels mixed in with the Richardson’s. I sat there for a couple hours shooting both kinds of squirrels, and knocked over the starlings that trickled in to land in the trees.
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These thirteen lined ground squirrels were mixed in, they’re pretty but also a pest to be cleared.
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The Verminator was a blast to shoot, it’s the right name because this gun is an ultimate varmint gun.
I spent a great few days hunting rodents during my downtime from predator hunting, before taking off for the drive home. This was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get back out here with my over/under when the bird season starts up, the number of pheasant and grouse was mind blowing! The accuracy that the FX guys are getting out of the smoothtwist barrels is something to experience…. I do love this gun.
On another topic, I’m going out tonight with the Wolverine. There have been several coyote sighting in the neighborhood in the last couple weeks, they seem to be coming in from the surrounding farms and are getting people nervous because they have been getting close to kids and pets and don’t seem too shy. Let’s see if that holds up when I get out with a gun in hand! Let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Planning a hunting trip for a group.


Its that time of year again to start planning your hunting vacation.  Some tips to remember when planning a trip for a group of hunters.
  • Plan early. Many folks are trying to book a trip for certain dates that will work in everyone's schedule.  If you don't plan early enough, it is hard to get the exact dates you may want.
  • Free lance or all inclusive hunting resort.  Things may seem less expensive on your own, but what most don't realize is that there are many added expenses that will make the trip cost more then an all inclusive destination in the long run.  Expenses such as meals, lodging (pet friendly), car rental, finding quality hunting land, and the time reserved to do all of these things. 
  • Get deposits from everyone going early.  Everyone has the friends that say they are going, but when the trip gets closer...they always have an excuse.  Deposits will commit people to go and will lower stress as the trip gets closer. 
  • Pick a destination that works well with an airport.  Flying is the new norm, but there are plenty of obstacles when traveling.  Your gear, gun, or other bags may not make it in time or the airport may be a long drive away from your destination.  If you are heading to a place close to an airport, this simplifies many headaches.
  • Pick hunting friends that have fun.  No one likes to be out hunting with someone that cant be pleased or is always complaining.  The people you are hunting with will impact how much you will enjoy the experience.
These are just a few examples of things you should think about before you pick a hunting trip.  If you would like more help on getting a trip planned for your hunting party, please give us a call @ 701-367-3737.  We would be glad to help.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pheasant Nesting Season Has Begun!

The wild Ring Necked Pheasant nesting season is in full swing!  Roosters are strutting their stuff all over the gravel roads while the hen pheasants sneak in for a quick visit.  The weather has remained dry and warm, which has made for a perfect breeding season thus far.  If this continues......its going to be a great pheasant hunting season this fall!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pheasant Season Hunting Forcast - April 2015

The weather has been very dry in North Dakota this spring and weather has been warm.  These conditions have made it more then ideal for spring nesting.  If it remains dry with small amounts of rainfall and warm weather, this year should have a very good nesting season. 
The pheasants have been in breeding mode for over a few weeks already, so they do have a jump start on nesting.  Pheasants will attempt to lay 3 nests if the first one or two are unsuccessful. 
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